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Kennedy lacks nuance

Posted: September 11, 2009 3:54 p.m.
Updated: September 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.
While Bill Kennedy ("Unintended consequences," The Signal, Aug. 28) is correct that the legacy of government initiatives in the Canadian north is a tragic one, his argument lacks nuance.

For Kennedy, the Inuit of the 1960s were proud hunters and nothing more. He does not mention their experiences over decades of colonialism or the fact that dramatic changes in Frobisher Bay started with the arrival of the American military during World War II.

Kennedy depicts life alongside the military as one of high-paying jobs and full benefits, which was hardly the case - but it does sound awfully like the "socialism" he decries everywhere else.

Canadian northern policy from the late 1950s onward was driven by the recognition that the state had ignored or failed its Arctic residents.

Extending certain rights such as health care to all citizens was seen as a moral responsibility. Unfortunately, it was not done properly, a failing that had nothing to do with socialism, as the source of the policies - the Conservative Party of John Diefenbaker - might indicate.

This suggests that Kennedy's description of the Obama administration's "socialist programs" might also need a little revision.


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